CLINTON — Plans for another large-scale solar project in the region continue to progress, as an energy company plans to file for a permit application in early November for a 20-megawatt facility.

The proposed site would be on about 150 acres between Holt Road and Channing Place, which is near the Sebasticook River. The application will be under the name Winslow Solar LLC, which is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, a Florida-based company that recently took over the assets for Ranger Solar, of southern Maine.

NextEra is also in the application stage for a similar project in neighboring Fairfield. The company is proposing another 20-megawatt facility on U.S. Route 201 that would provide enough energy to power about 7,000 homes. The Fairfield site is on an active farm, and the company would have 240 acres to work with there. The Fairfield project is projected to cost $30 million.

NextEra is one of the largest generators of solar energy in the country. The company owns the power plant on Cousins Island, and it develops other forms of renewable energy sources. The company is the largest owner and operator of wind generating facilities in the country, has gas-fired facilities and works with nuclear energy.

Aaron Svedlow, project director for solar development, said the Clinton project essentially mirrored the size and scope of the Fairfield one. The pair of $30 million projects will each require “tens of thousands” of panels once completed, with the end of 2019 targeted as the date for the projects to be operational, and would sell the produced energy to Connecticut. As with Fairfield, Svedlow said the Clinton project would create about 85 construction jobs, and once operational, four full-time jobs at the site. The Clinton location, which is on private property that already has a cellphone tower and doesn’t have much agricultural value anymore, will be slightly more visible to residents than the Fairfield one, but not by much.

“It’s a great spot for solar,” Svedlow said.


The planned Clinton solar facility joins the growing ranks of other large-scale projects for the region. In addition to the Fairfield project, NextEra is also working toward a facility in Moscow, a small town just north of Bingham. The Moscow facility, which recently was endorsed by the town’s Board of Selectmen in a letter to Massachusetts Clean Energy officials, would send energy to the Bay State while also creating jobs and other economic benefits for Moscow.

NextEra also wants to build a 75-megawatt solar facility in Farmington, which would cost $80 million. Like the other proposed projects, the Farmington array would sell its energy to other New England states. NextEra generally has proposed its projects in areas deemed not highly visible to the public.

Fairfield also might be the site of another solar project. The town recently entered into a partnership with the Falmouth-based company Gizos Energy LLC to explore the town’s capped landfill as a site for a solar project, and would potentially sell the energy produced there locally. This 5-megawatt project, estimated to cost up to $7 million, would be on a 25-acre parcel and create 35 to 45 local jobs. Gizos also is working on a massive project at the Waterville capped landfill, a 20-megawatt facility, on Webb Road. The company is also proposing a smaller, roughly 5-megawatt facility elsewhere on Webb Road.

The Waterville City Council approved a partnership with Gizos earlier this summer, and the project is estimated to cost close to $30 million.

Earlier this summer, it was announced that part of what will be the state’s largest array, a 41,000-panel solar project in Pittsfield, would go online by the end of 2017. Environmental regulators approved the $24.2 million project in June, and the Maine Public Utilities Commission allowed Cianbro to enter into a long-term partnership with Central Maine Power Co. Cianbro’s 57-acre solar farm will be off U.S. Route 2 and will generate 9.9 megawatts. CMP will pay 8.45 cents per kilowatt-hour for that electricity over a 20-year contract. It is expected to be fully operational this fall.

Once fully operational, the Pittsfield array will surpass the size of the 26,000-panel farm at the Madison Business Gateway, which occupies about 22 acres and generates about 5 megawatts.


Meanwhile Colby College, in Waterville, expects to have a 5,300-panel, 1.8-megawatt photovoltaic energy project ready this fall.

Thomas College, also in Waterville, partnered with ReVision Energy in 2012 to install 700 solar panels on the roof of the Alfond Athletic Center and entered into a power purchasing agreement with ReVision, buying the electricity produced from the array on campus and then purchasing the system from ReVision at a reduced rate.

Nearby Unity College also partnered with ReVision, signing a power purchasing agreement to place a 144-panel solar array on the roofs of the Quimby Library and the Thomashow Learning Laboratory.

Bowdoin College has a 1.2-megawatt solar power complex in Brunswick.

A Yarmouth company continues to move ahead with plans to build a 50-megawatt solar farm at the Sanford municipal airport. The Sanford City Council approved the lease in May 2016.

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association launched its new array at the Common Ground Education Center on Crosby Brook Road in the spring, where more than 300 panels capable of producing 102 kilowatts are spread out over five barn roofs. The array is owned by ReVision Energy, and MOFGA has entered a power purchasing agreement to buy power from ReVision at a fixed cost. Though the agreement is for 30 years, the organization will have the option to purchase the array outright from ReVision after seven years.


Also, the Quaker meeting at the Vassalboro Friends Meeting House on Stanley Hill Road has invested $40,000 to become more energy-efficient, including solar panels and heat pumps.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

Twitter: @colinoellis


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